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Pasture Safety

General Horse Articles - Pony Proof Your Pasture
If you keep a horse out in a field, it’s important that you give his grassy home a safety check at least once a week.

If you keep a horse out in a field, it’s important that you give his grassy home a safety check at least once a week. Why? Because horses have the amazing ability to get themselves into trouble!

A horse can find the one loose fence plank and scratch his head on a nail. He’ll find the one broken bottle that was thrown over the fence and cut his leg. And he’ll notice that the gate latch isn’t fastening properly and figure out how to escape his field.

This is why a weekly field check, which only takes a few minutes, could save you a lot of money in vet bills later on. Let’s tag along as Ivy Johnson makes sure her field is pony proof!

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Fence Check
Walk around the entire fence line in the field with a hammer and bash in any nails that are sticking out. A protruding nail can cut a horse or seriously injure his eye. If a fence plank is loose, you may need some help from a pony pal or your mom or dad to hold up the plank as you nail it back in place. If you board your horse, let the barn manager know that there is a loose plank in the field and it needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

If a plank is broken, replace it quickly. You should be able to buy planks at the local feed store or a lumberyard.If you have wire fencing, make sure that no wire has come undone. Loose wire gets loopy and can wrap around a horse’s leg and injure him.

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Weedwacker!
If you spot weeds out in the field, grab some weedkiller and start spraying. Aim for the plant only and don’t get any weed killer on the surrounding grass. Most weedkillers state on the label that it is ok to spray weeds in a field where there are horses, but if you feel worried keep your horse out of the field for 24 hours. Read the weedkiller label before you spray the field.
Horses generally avoid eating weeds like thistles and nettles and so they probably won’t eat the weedkiller by mistake. Common plants to kill:

  • Buttercups: they might be pretty, but they can be toxic when a lot are eaten.
  • Thistles and nettles: these spread all over a field quickly.
  • Yew: this needs to be chopped down and removed completely from a field. It’s poisonous and can kill a horse.
  • Oak tree acorns and red maple leaves: if there’s an oaktree in the field, pick up acorns and throw them away. They can be poisonous if eaten in large quantities. Cut down red maple trees if the leaves fall in your pony’s field.
    If your family has a tractor, your parents should cut the grass and weeds in the field several times during the summer.
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Garbage Pick Up
Pick up any garbage you see on the ground. If your horse’s field is near a road, walk up and down the fence line to make sure no one has thrown trash over the fence.
Aluminum cans can have sharp edges if they are broken, and glass can cause all sorts of problems if your horse gets cut by it or swallows it while he’s grazing. Look for wire on the ground, too.

Waterworks
Check your horse’s water supply every single day. A horse can drink more than 13 gallons of water a day—and more if it’s hot or if he eats lots of alfalfa hay.
Make sure the water is clean. Lift out leaves or bugs, and break the ice on it if it’s really cold. Scrub out the trough at least once a week to remove algae and dirt.
If you have an automatic waterer you should still check on it every day, because it can break or spring a leak.

Lockdown
Double check the locks on all the gates in the field. You should be able to  shut each gate securely and the locks should be the kind that horses can’t open. If you feel worried that a gate might open when it’s not supposed to, get a piece of chain from the hardware store and run it around the fence post and the gate and then fasten it with a double sided snap.

 

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